Illico Blanc 2021
Domaine des Schistes
Region: Roussillon

Tasting Notes

Aromatic and vibrant on the nose, with notes of quince, pink grapefruit, white flowers and almond. On the palate, there is a touch of weight, but good refreshing acid balance. The citrus comes through, as does apricot and honeydew, along with some wet stone minerality. This doesn’t have the opulence and richness of Mediterranean Vermentino, but the aromas are just as compelling. Macabeo here provides the acid lift. Enjoy as an aperitif, well chilled, or lightly chill and serve with sea bass in a lemon caper beurre blanc.

A blend of Vermentino and Macabeo. Vermentino is grown mostly in Corsica and Sardegna and the Italian region of Liguria, but there are increasing plantings throughout France’s Mediterranean coast. It typically makes deeply-coloured, full and ripe wines. Macabeu, known across the Pyrenees as Macabeo, produces a relatively neutral profile when vinified. Its higher acidity makes it a useful partner in both blended white wines and as a base for sparkling wines.

Roussillon is all too often lumped together with its eastern neighbour, Languedoc. And while the two regions do share similarities—namely warm temperatures and common grapes—there are significant and important differentiators as well. From a cultural standpoint, Roussillon is more Catalan than French, located just over the Pyrenees mountains where the Mediterranean coast runs north before veering east. The climate here is harsh and severe, with extreme heat, minimal rain and a constant, fierce wind, known locally as the Tramontane. The soils are incredibly poor, with barely a trace of earth on top of a hard shale, schist and limestone base. All of these factors combine to naturally create incredibly low yields and, as a result, intense, characterful wines. Low yields and small estates also mean higher production costs. On average, the wines of Roussillon are more expensive than those from Languedoc. They are also a little more demanding for the drinker in terms of profile and style. They are most definitely wines that show best with foodand they usually reward patience, be it via decanter or time in the cellar. But they are some of the most expressive, complex and terroir-driven wines you will find.

Hand-picked from bush vines planted in poor, schist-based soils in the foothills of the Pyrenees, this wine is from the village of Estagel. Vineyard elevations and aspects vary. The old vines are selected for their ability to craft easy-drinking wines that are drinkable young. The vineyards are farmed organically and sustainably, with special care undertaken to preserve the natural surrounding fauna and flora.

Hand-harvested fruit is gently pressed, just once, to avoid any green, astringent or unripe flavours in the wine. The juice is immediately separated from the skins to prevent the pH from rising and to maintain acidity. After fermentation and stabilisation, the wines are stirred to “fatten” the palate, then placed in concrete for a brief aging period before being lightly fined with bentonite clay at bottling.

Wine Type: N/A

Variety: Vermentino, Macabeo

Classification: IGP

Orientation: East/south-east

Appellation: Cotes de Catalanes

Gradient: 20-30%

Soil: Shaley marl and limestone

Farming Practices: Organic and sustainable

Residual Sugar: N/A

Alcohol: 12.5%

Malolactic: No

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: N/A

Other Practices: Sustainable, Certified Organic